Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

My second Christmas in Korea has come and gone and again there has been little to no snow, just cold weather. Unfortunately I picked up a nasty bug which I've been trying to shake for the last month. As soon as I start to feel good I ether catch a fresh batch or a handful of drug resistant bacteria make a comeback. 

I let my students make Christmas cards in class last week. After working hard on it all lesson, one of my grade 1 students gave me the card she was making.

For Christmas Jihyeon and I bought some roast chicken and enjoyed it with the gravy mum sent from Australia and some steamed vegetables. I forgot how good gravy is. I can't believe they don't have it here in Korea. 

Merry Christmas

Just 72 days until I fly home. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Blood Type Personalities

In America, Australia and Europe a question that may come up when you meet someone (particularly if you are dating) is "what is your star sign?". In Korea however, you are instead likely to be asked "What is your blood type?". In fact, Facebook in Korea and Japan allows you to list your blood type as part of your profile. 

Like star signs, your blood type can supposedly tell others a lot about the kind of person you are. What I find particularly interesting about this belief is that different blood types were not even discovered until 1901 after a scientist investigated why blood transfusions sometimes caused patients to die, so unlike zodiac signs that go back thousands of years, categorizing people based on their blood type is only a modern phenomenon. 

The idea that blood type can predict personality, character and comparability with others originated in Germany prior to world war 2 and was picked up by a Japanese scholar who introduced it to Japan and the rest of Asia. The theory was largely dismissed in the 1930's after some large breakthroughs regarding the function and role DNA plays, but was later revived in the 1970's by a Japanese journalist with no medical or scientific background. The belief that blood type can predict what a person is like still persists in South Korea and Japan today. 

For the last 3 years my wife has been pestering me to find out what my blood type is. I was very sick a couple of weeks ago and went for a blood test, so Jihyeon seized the opportunity to have my blood type tested (for fun). My blood type is A+ (because I'm awesome), looking at the list of traits below, maybe there is some truth to the pseudoscience superstitious silliness.

Lets start off with unfaithfulness. If you are type B, I have some bad news for you. You are the most likely to be unfaithful because you fall in and out of love very quickly. The order of unfaithfulness is... 
B > AB > O > A

Blood Type A
Positive Traits: Conservative, reserved punctual, patient, introverted and inclined to be perfectionists. 
Negative Traits: They can be uptight, self conscious, stubborn and obsessive. 
Other Traits: Considerate of others and loyal to a fault. They basically never cheat on their partner, period. If they do start seeing other people on the side, it is safe to assume that they have moved on.

K-pop star Sandara Park - Blood Type A
Blood Type B
Positive Traits: Animal-loving, creative, optimistic, passionate, individualistic and flexible. 
Negative Traits: Self-centered, forgetful and irresponsible. 
Other Traits: As I mentioned above, they are the least faithful of all the blood types. They are also often described as shallow and lazy, but they can be quite passionate about the things that are important to them. Type B men have a very negative reputation in Korea and are not considered by many to be good husband material. They are often described as 'players' and are seen as selfish, unreliable and quick to anger. 
K-pop star T.O.P. - Blood Type B
Blood Type AB
Positive Traits: Rational, controlled, empathetic and cool but also introverted. 
Negative Traits: Unforgiving, critical and indecisive. 
Other Traits: They have a confident personality and believe they won't get caught if they cheat on their partner. They are good with money and make rational financial decisions using their head rather than their heart. They are also considered two-faced, and therefore untrustworthy. 

K-pop star Hyeri - Blood Type AB
Blood Type O
Positive Traits: Ambitious, friendly, self-confident and athletic.
Negative Traits: Arrogant, workaholic, insensitive, ruthless and vain.
Other Traits: Type O's are viewed as natural leaders (Japan has had 17 type O prime ministers since WWII, 79% more than statistically would be expected) and are often also natural athletes (Ratios of type O and B professional baseball players exceed the average both in Japan and Korea). They tend to be friendly, outgoing and passionate, but can also bore others to death with their obsessive drive for success. Relationship wise, once they decided to be serious with a partner, they will not cheat on them. 
K-pop star PSY - Blood Type O

Monday, December 8, 2014

Burnt but delicious

Teacher/Student interaction in Korea is a little different to in Australia. In Australia, a teacher would think it highly unusual and suspicious to receive a gift of food from a student. In Korea however, it happens quite regularly. Normally it will be something store bought like a cookie, candy, rice cake, or... if I'm lucky... a hamburger, but from time to time students will cook something in their classroom and share their creations with teachers. 
Student: "Teacher, I cooked these for you".
Me: "Thank you" - I look at them, see they are burnt, and raise my eyebrows. The student sees my reaction and says...
Student: "Burnt but delicious".
Me: "Okay". - I put them on my desk thinking the student would leave. He didn't. He was waiting for me to try one. I tried the least burnt one. 
Me: "Mmmmmm".
Student: "Very delicious! Goodbye Teacher". and runs off back to his classroom.